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Work With Mental Health Issues

Dan working with mental health issues

Work With Mental Health Issues

So as many of you may know I have a lot of mental health issues. However i work with these mental health issues. Now, I wouldn’t say these are negative as they define who I am and what I am. One of my conditions is that i have Tourette’s Syndrome which is a neurological condition which causes my brain to function more than it should sometimes. It also causes my brain to function less than it should sometimes. The other day i saw a great video online on Youtube with someone trying to explain how it feels to have tics.

Now it doesn’t compare greatly but if you were to try to keep your eyes open, they would go dry. Now you need to blink. Don’t. Now keep holding your eyes open. That is similar to the way we feel when we need to tic except more extreme and all over our bodies.

Mental Health and Work

I also have depression, anxiety and psychosis which obviously doesn’t help. This means that not only am I rarely motivated to do anything, once I am I get scared and anxious to do it and then hear voices telling me that I can’t do it. The voices are wrong.Fast forward to now and I am currently building website and doing SEO (search engine optimization) from my own home. That means that I am in a comfortable environment and work when I want. I am able to work despite my hindrances. I can work with mental health issues.

If you have read this far I hope you realise that it is ok if you can’t work a 9-5 job. You can work if you want. There are so many things you can do. One of the websites I work on designs nightclubs and bars all over the world. That’s pretty dope. Hope you enjoyed this short read and confidence boost, just remember, to be unique and yourself. You can do anything you want.

Tourette’s Syndrome around Friends

Tourette's Syndrome around friends at wedding

What it’s really like

Spending your time having Tourette’s Syndrome around friends is great. They understand you may have a little bit more energy. You might shout a random word of phrase. Maybe even accidently hit them in the arm. The point is they understand that it is not intentional. It’s a complex mess of faulty wiring and ecstatic synapses.

What really becomes a challenge is when you have Tourette’s and so does a friend of yours. Or someone you are around. I am not sure if this has been researched so bear with me. There is something about being around others with Tourette’s that makes it all that much more interesting.

Double trouble

Let me give you an example, when I struggle with Tourette’s Syndrome around friends I have an arm tic and a few facial tics. Most of them are totally cool. One of my friends Chris however, also has Tourette’s. We sort of, mimic and adapt to each other. I pick up on his tics and he picks up on mine. The issue is we still have our own. It really is double trouble.

Another example is when I did an online support group meeting with some kind people at Tourette Association of America. The first meeting we were all getting to know each other. Therefore no one but the lovely lady leading the meetings; Eva, had a webcam on.

The next meeting however we all put our webcams on and almost instantly we were all ticcing and picking up each other’s little quirks and twitches. Luckily we all knew we were in the same boat and there was no shame which felt reassuring.

In conclusion

All in all I would say having Tourette’s Syndrome around friends is amazing. Even if some of them also have Tourette’s as they will understand. It can also be quite funny as you will see in the shiny writing link I give you all today. Warning, it can be a bit rude.

Medication and tablets, are they really worth it?

Sleepy Squidward needs medication

Who knows

So as you may now know I have Tourette’s Syndrome. What you may not know is I also have psychosis, depression, anxiety and insomnia. I take medication for most of them. I recently had a bit of a snafu with ordering tablets due to Christmas and New Years. Do not fret. I have more on the way.

What I wanted to talk about was what the medication I take does and if it’s a positive or negative for me. Strap on your critical hats as I am going to get technical. For obvious reasons I won’t name the tablets or the dosage but I basically take a handful every day.

Medication for Tourette’s

My Tourette’s medication works quite well I would say 70% of the time. My tics are reduced to be bearable and that’s good. Instead of swinging my arms about and jumping up and down on my chair I just blow air into my eyes and open my mouth and eyes really wide. This is what I consider bearable. HOWEVER when I take them I don’t feel like me. At my wedding I refused to take my tablets as I wanted to marry Nelly as me.

This of course meant I was bouncing of the walls, yelling song lyrics out car windows and generally making a tit of myself. So yea, me. As I said I recently ran into a snag so I am currently not dosed up. Not taking my medication has meant that I have had the motivation to write my second blog post in two days and really get my blog kick-started. Previously it took me 2 months to write three posts.

There are negatives however; I now have chipped away at my inner upper lip with my tooth. It’s so sore that I am considering starting rugby or boxing to have an excuse to wear a gum shield. I have also started doing an old arm tic of mine and have scratched and rubbed the skin under my armpit.

Happiness medication

As for my anxiety and depression tablets, I honestly haven’t noticed any difference so far I am generally less anxious because of how I have taught myself to be more social. The depression is always there, no getting rid of that yet but it’s manageable. I have however started talking to myself a lot and am hearing various voices in my head.

The issue with not taking these tablets is that I get sharp shooting pains through my feet all the way up my body. Toe to head. Next I feel dizzy and need to find a place to sit or lie down quickly. As you can imagine this impairs me leaving the house etc.

ZZZZZZ

Finally the sleeping tablets. Pretty simple, I don’t sleep without them. Well, I do. But 10 hours sleep every two days isn’t ideal. Don’t get me wrong I am absolutely shattered, but at the same time full of energy. It is a really surreal feeling. My body wants to sleep but my mind does not.

When I do take them I sleep after a few hours, the only issue is I sleep for 12-14 hours. This is also not ideal. And not only that, I feel so tired, drowsy and sedated while I am awake I am sometimes like a zombie.

In conclusion I have no idea whether taking my medication or not is worth it. so writing all this was probably a massive waste of time but hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed ranting about nonsense.

 

As always I have included a shiny writing thing.

Lazy? Unmotivated? Demoralised?

Lazy sloth laying down feeling depressed.

Sound familiar? Are you lazy?

These are words that are often thrown around. I get called lazy because I don’t do a certain task. What I am unable to vocalise is that there are a million things going round in my head. I am constantly playing out scenarios, in which; everything goes wrong. It has taken me a month to get the courage to write a blog about this.

Now, I am not disagreeing with the people who say I’m lazy. I am. The part I am disagreeing with is the motive. Let me give an easy example; chores. Say I had to do something as trivial as washing up dishes and cutlery. In the 10 seconds or so that it would take me to process that sentence I have already thought about many different outcomes. What if I spill water everywhere? That would be bad. What if I cut my finger or hand? That would be bad. What if due to my tics I literally throw a plate across the roam and smash it? That would be bad.

I know that these consequences are way out of the ball park, yet I can’t seem to get it out my head. So from having the lack of motivation to do certain tasks I then feel bad about myself for not being able to do them. This is made further worse by someone calling me lazy.

This is a lethargic simulation

Let me give another situation which is a bit more personal. Hygiene. Now I am not sure what the recommended level of hygiene is supposed to be. I don’t believe it’s as simple as EA’s The Sims, where we have a bar that we must fill. What I do know is my level is not correct. And it stinks, pardon the pun.

I have done research on this and thankfully I am not alone and if anyone reading this has depression and are in the same boat, have some solace and comfort that you are not alone. Depression is a weird one; I can look like the happiest person ever always smiling and laughing, making jokes. Inside I am broken, shattered and empty.

I do not understand my own body and brain, let alone understand a mental illness. All I can do is get on with it and I implore people who know someone struggling with similar situations to be patient. Listen. They are just as frustrated and unsure as you are if not more so. If you ask someone who has depression or anxiety to do something and they do not immediately do it, please don’t call them lazy. Or belittle them. The next time you ask they just won’t want to do it. It’s not positive reinforcement. Its ignorant.

Getting personal

I have never really spoken about my depression to anyone apart from my darling wife, Nelly and one of the best friends I could ever hope for, Alex. Talking about it puts it into a more physical form, which somehow makes it feel more real, which sounds worse but is actually better. When you have something; a voice, your own thoughts, niggling at the back of your mind telling you that you can’t do something or you are incapable, useless or lazy. It sucks.

Now, I know, as I am 23 now and have had depressions for over 10 years that I am not alone. That makes it all the much better to cope with. However there are people who are new to it, and are confused and struggling. They think they are alone, I know this as I used to. I used to feel so empty I would find ways of trying to feel.

Ouch

It started with hitting belts on my back, scratching and pinching my skin and as I got older and my situation got worse it led to drinking, drugs and self-harm. Self-harm, the big taboo, the stereotypical act of every depression victim. People assume those who self-harm are trying end it all and stop feeling. The truth is, at least for me, that we don’t want to stop feeling. We want to start feeling. Our depression has already blocked all our emotions and feelings and stopped us from being social creatures.

Sorry for the long rant, but it honestly feels good to vocalise and physicalize depression, and as I say, if you are reading this, find some relief, you are not alone. Make that first step to reach out, you may find a lot more hands outstretched than you think. If you know someone with depression, anxiety, psychosis, bipolar disorder, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, please, for their sake and even lives, be patient. Do not ever force them to do something they don’t want to. Never guilt trip them. And never ever call them lazy.

 

For more help and advice if you are feeling shitty, click the shiny writing.

Tourette’s versus Music

Tourette's drummer

Hint: Tourette’s loses!

Rocking from the beginning

Hobbies are a great way to distract and treat Tourette’s. Personally I enjoy creating and listening to music. The tics i have seem to dissipate when I’m rocking the drums and guitar. Not sure if this is because my mind is so focused on the music or whether there is some other reason to do with chemicals in the brain when music is involved. All I know, is that it works and it’s lovely. I started playing drums at the age of 12 and although there was no diagnosis of Tourette’s back then, it was obvious that I had what the doctors called ‘habits’. Find out more in another blog.  These ‘habits’ seemed to go and the old “noggin” seemed to be at peace when a drum set was in my peripheral. I could let all my anger and rage out and still keep a steady beat, mostly.

Project punk band

When I was around 15 I got the opportunity to play a song with a neighbours band, I had heard the song once or twice but never played it, yet when I went behind that kit something just made me feel great and I immediately picked up the beat and played the song with almost no mistakes, I even threw a small fill or drum solo in there. Following on from this I joined a band at school with a few friends who later became some of the closest people in my life.

There was Alex, Tom and Jamie. Jamie was the bassist, Tom was the guitarist and Alex was the singer with the *cough* beautiful *cough* voice. I kid of course he has improved so much over the years, we all have and its different now as the band is not quite together anymore. Enough of the sad times, these were the good times.

The gig

So, we got a gig! It was going to be THE show, playing to a huge audience. The expectations were; screaming groupies, roadies to carry the instruments and to live like royalty. No groupies or roadies, apart from Jimmy, my brother, yet the show went on, at my parents’ house. Maybe it wasn’t the biggest gig of all time. Nonetheless it was then that I realised that this was what I wanted to do in my life, perform. So there it is, having Tourette’s had no negative impacts on music, if anything music punched back at Tourette’s.

 

If you want to check out the band, click on the shiny writing.

 

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

“Where music speaks, tics fail.” – Dan Morten

Games with Tourette’s Syndrome and Comorbidities?

Hobbies

Tourette’s Syndrome can affect people’s brains in many different ways, and therefore there are many ways to combat symptoms. One way I like to tackle my tics is to keep busy. The best way I can achieve this is to do what I enjoy. My favourite thing to do is play games, primarily on my computer. Mostly games that require me to do more than one action at a time, so it really requires my brain to work its gears and cogs.

Favourite type of games

Games like MMORPG’s or for non-gamers, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, are very good at having dynamic combat systems using skills and movement. At the same time you need to move out of harm’s way. All of this whilst pressing skills on your keyboard and even mouse all at the same time. I do this whilst watching a show on Netflix or videos on Youtube and also talking to friends. Sounds busy right?

If I didn’t play games or keep busy some other way then my Tourette’s Syndrome would be a lot worse if not unbearable. There are times when I am unable to play games and I desperately try to keep my brain busy. If i I don’t then i may have a Tic Fit. Another way in which gaming has been beneficial is that it has allowed me to utilize skills I otherwise wouldn’t have. For example, due to playing games i know have special awareness, attention to detail, time management, multitasking and hand-eye coordination. I feel that positive gaming should be encouraged to young children with Tourette’s Syndrome. It is a good way of helping them develop these skills and to also distract them away from their Tics and Comorbidities.

Comorbids for short

Comorbidities are basically other disorders that can be present with people with Tourette’s Syndrome. If you think of it like an iceberg. At the tip you see the Tics whether they be Motor or Vocal. Underneath in the water the disorders you can’t see are there. These can include Rage, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Behaviours, Sleep Issues, Anxiety, Impulsivity and Social Communication Deficits. There are many others yet these are the ones that I personally have and I will go on to explain them in another blog.

As always i hope you enjoyed reading and encourage you to see where the shiny writing takes you this time.

 

Tourette’s Syndrome And Me Living With It

Anyone can get married even if you have Tourette's Syndrome

Nice to meet you

Hi, I’m Dan. I am 23 years old and I have been living with Tourette’s Syndrome all my life. My tics were first noticeable when I was about 4 or 5 years old. MY parents used to say I would try to swallow flies. I would open my mouth and keep it as wide as I could for a short period of time. Back then no one know it was Tourette’s Syndrome. When I watch old videos of myself growing up I can tell when and what were tics. Growing up was a sure challenge for me, not just because of Tourette’s Syndrome, but also because people in authority did not know it.

If i had a diagnosis at a younger age, the punishments when I was younger would have been reduced by 95%. A good example is when I would be talking in class and then get told to be quiet. To most people this would be easy. Stop talking. For me though it’s the urge that I need to finish my sentence or whatever I needed to say. This was because I wanted to say what I needed to say, due to my Tourette’s Syndrome I had obsessions. Obsessions where I would need to physically make the vibrations in my vocal chords. Sounds confusing? No worries, on this blog I will do my utmost best to explain Tourette’s Syndrome. I will tell you my experiences and include as much scientific and neurological information relating to it as I can.

A few years later

Flash forward to 18, I have finished college. I had first begun to notice my tics getting more and more prominent. Searching for a new career path was my next goal. I have always been interested in technology and wanted to pursue a career in electrical engineering. It is worth mentioning at this point I had been with my then girlfriend for two years. Without her I seriously doubt I would be here, writing this now.

Her name is Nelly and she is the most inspirational woman who cares more than I have ever known anyone to. I’m glad i married her. Anyway, at this point Nelly is also looking for work. She found a job as an early year’s educator at a school in Stamford. This was the same town as the college I was looking at electrical engineering courses for, it could not be more perfect. With great help and support from my parents we moved into a small one bedroom flat and for a while it was going well, or so we thought.

College

Two weeks into my college course one of my teachers decided to quit. He was replaced by a rather nice man who I seemed to make an impression with as he would let me leave early as I finished my coursework early a lot. We also had a math teacher, who, how can I say, was atrocious. The math teacher went on to be fired for reasons I still never found out yet I am not surprised. Instead of teaching us he would just sit and watch random YouTube videos. When it came to an official test he would read us all out the answers, thus teaching nothing and us learning nothing.

The nice teacher would also go on to leave as well a few weeks later and was replaced by the terrible math teacher’s friend. He shared in the philosophy of becoming a teacher and not actually teaching anything. This meant that I would have to do a lot of self-teaching. Usually this would be fine for me as I enjoy a challenge, yet the greatest challenge of my life was fast approaching.

A literal nightmare

To this day, i am not sure if it is due to the stress of living independently or having to self-teach a lot of complex maths and electrical theory but somehow something clicked. What went from a simple neck crack here or rolling my eyes turned into punching myself in the head and scratching under my arm until the skin was raw. Now, I won’t list of all my tics here right now as that is another blog post’s worth. Keep updated for that as some of them are quite funny and amusing.

I started having to take time off college and take half days. Then I stopped teaching myself stuff for my course as my tics were that intense. The only thing for me to do would be lay on my side and try to sleep, which never came easily. There were points where I would have what I called twitch fits. A twitch fit is where I could not stop ticcing for a single second. I would be in tears and banging my head against the wall trying to stop it.

Doctor visit after doctor visit

During all this I was trying to get a diagnosis as I did not know what was wrong with me. Tourette’s Syndrome and other tic disorders were the words that kept getting thrown around. This didn’t worry me though as all I wanted was a diagnosis and then treatment. I remember going through 4 different specialists and having lots of blood tests and even an MRI scan at one point. Eventually I got the diagnosis and it was Tourette’s Syndrome. This meant that I could start many different treatments and medication trials which I will go into at a later day.

I was 19 when I got diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Unfortunately had to stop college as it was too much for me to handle with my tics. I looked into what I could do jobwise from home yet due to my location and country there wasn’t much I could do. That is when we looked into disability pay. Which is basically a basic living allowance for people unable to work. I am trying to think of the most polite way to say this and I think just stating facts is the best way so you can get a clear picture. In England and perhaps the rest of the UK, you must answer a series of questions to be declared eligible for the payment.

Tribunal for Tourette’s Syndrome

Once again there will be a greater explanation of that system and what an utter shambles it is. Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder and I was being asked the questions by a nurse who studied feet. In other words someone not qualified. She said I was fine despite me jumping up and down on my seat and being unable to answer most of the questions or do what she asked. We asked for her to look again, she refused twice and we eventually went to a tribunal. At the tribunal I remember being asked more or less the same questions. I remember my dad and Nelly crying as I was having one of my twitch fits. I was approved for the allowance after that.

Flash forward to today, I am currently writing a blog with the aim to help people my age or younger, and to let them know it will get better, Tourette’s Syndrome is in my life but it isn’t my whole life, I am now very very happily married to the one who supported and stuck with me through it all, Nelly. I could not be happier and hopefully after reading my blogs, you can get some help and advice and will be happy too.

 

If you enjoyed reading and found any happiness or help from reading please reccomend to your friends and family. To do that press the shiny writing and copy it on facebook.